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Appreciating Metal Vocals

Re: Appreciating Metal Vocals
February 28, 2010, 03:33:22 AM
I don't understand how someone can listen to albums like Arise!, Profanatitas De Domonatia, Nespithe, The Key of Throne, Farmakon, or Beyond the Veil and think metal would be better off as instrumental music. I'll admit vocals aren't taken to their full potential 90% of the time - how is this different from everything else in metal, and indeed, the world?
HE WHO REAPS STORMS, SOWS WINDS. HE WHO SOWS WINDS, REAPS STORMS.

"It is better to go to a house of mourning than to go to a house of feasting, for death is the destiny of every man; the living should take this to heart."
-Ecclesiastes 7:2

Re: Appreciating Metal Vocals
February 28, 2010, 03:47:02 AM
Around where I live people think it's hilarious to hear Varg's shrieks and Antti's gutterals...I always say the sound fits the idea the music was based off of. It wouldn't make sense for Incantation to have the vocals of Buck Cherry because they are 2 conflicting elements that don't help shape the music, which is what really matters. However I do sympathize for the previous posters in how they dislike some vocal styles, but they're that way for a reason. Generally speaking, Demilich is extremely "alienating", the guitar tone reflects that just as much as the "unearthly" vocals do. Antti Bowman wasn't thinking about which people would like his vocals, he was trying to use his imagination on how to represent the overall aesthetic on Nespithe.

Reminds me of an excerpt from some other site I was reading a while back, something along the lines of: "Playing a flute in a grindcore band doesn't make you different for a good reason, it makes you an idiot."

Re: Appreciating Metal Vocals
February 28, 2010, 10:58:06 AM
Being hilarious is not a fail of any kind. People who love life find quite a lot of things hilarious and enjoy them in turn.

Pandering and conforming to people's attitudes, particularly of people who take themselves too seriously, is a fail.

Music like early Immortal and Impaled Nazarene is still a good hipster test. The fakes will either laugh refusing to see where they should cry, or write it off because there is some humour and absurdity. The true ones express mirth, and respect, simultaneously.

Re: Appreciating Metal Vocals
February 28, 2010, 01:33:24 PM
I don't understand how someone can listen to albums like Arise!, Profanatitas De Domonatia, Nespithe, The Key of Throne, Farmakon, or Beyond the Veil and think metal would be better off as instrumental music.
Because growling is noise, not music. Sure, it contributes to the atmosphere in a way, but most of the bands could achieve that atmosphere without the screaming, by music solely. And the ones that couldn't, don't deserve to exist anyway. Vocals, just as drums (which, also non-musical, create the rhythmic core of the composition, instead of leaving that to the actual music), should be abandoned, if metal is to reach new heights. "Harsh music" should not imply "noise".

Re: Appreciating Metal Vocals
February 28, 2010, 04:32:15 PM
Music is noise used a certain way. Growling definitely can (and does) contribute. If  you think Beyond the Veil would sound better with any "normal" sort of singing, you are insane. If you think The Key of Throne's vocals are mere growling, you are insane. If you think there has ever been any instrument made that can even come close to the level of harmonic complexity available in the human voice, you are insane. As for drums - Aes and Onward to Golgotha both use drums in ways that do much more than simply provide a rhythmic core.
HE WHO REAPS STORMS, SOWS WINDS. HE WHO SOWS WINDS, REAPS STORMS.

"It is better to go to a house of mourning than to go to a house of feasting, for death is the destiny of every man; the living should take this to heart."
-Ecclesiastes 7:2

Re: Appreciating Metal Vocals
February 28, 2010, 05:34:41 PM
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Music is noise used a certain way.
No, music possesses certain qualities, such as melody and harmony. Noise does not.

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Growling definitely can (and does) contribute. If  you think Beyond the Veil would sound better with any "normal" sort of singing, you are insane. If you think The Key of Throne's vocals are mere growling, you are insane.
So what are they? Does it take specialized training and natural talent to do it? Also, if singing has no place in the composition, why include it in the first place? If normal singing does not fit the music, you don't need to try and shove ANY kind of singing in it. Does "The Art of Fugue" need vocals?

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If you think there has ever been any instrument made that can even come close to the level of harmonic complexity available in the human voice, you are insane.
...and by "harmonic complexity" you mean belching, imitating a frog or shouting?

I think the problem here is that you're failing to appreciate music for its objective qualities and instead focus on what sounds "cool", "otherworldly" or "interesting". It's the riffs that are important and how they work together, everything else is a distraction like how deep X's growls are or how Y runs over the toms into the blast beat.

Re: Appreciating Metal Vocals
February 28, 2010, 10:20:50 PM
No, music possesses certain qualities, such as melody and harmony. Noise does not.

The distinction is purely mathematical, even in the context of John Cage's statement: sometimes music is noise and sometimes noise is music. He means the fact that few of us would dispute the beauty of birdsong, yet no atonal fusionist is as "noisy" in waveform, or fractal representation. Black metal is oskorei cult, not concert hall, thus:

These groups have various means to approach the other world, to reach a religious ecstasy:
disguises, masks; noise (bells, drums, etc.); intoxicating drinks (especially beer and liquor);
movement (such as dance) and music (singing, but also invocatory formulas, similar to
magical chants, spoken in a falsetto voice), etc. ...


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So what are they? Does it take specialized training and natural talent to do it?

One would think not, but the difference between this and this is easily observable.

In fact, nothing out of the ordinary in the use of human voice has been conceived in modern music. In classical music, in folk traditions and in religious rituals, it's all there. And in almost all cases we are dealing with the depictions of archetypal characters, including non-human ones.

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I think the problem here is that you're failing to appreciate music for its objective qualities and instead focus on what sounds "cool", "otherworldly" or "interesting".

Objectively speaking, music is an intellectual game. I think what most metalheads are interested in is using it as a way to revere world, nature, life, Satan etc. That's where the other focus comes in.

Re: Appreciating Metal Vocals
March 01, 2010, 06:16:10 AM
I think destructor is missing the point. I used to think the instrumental part was the best, too, but I saw that in the good bands, the vocals are an element in the song, not something that worsens it taking up all the attention.
You're quite hostile.

I got a right to be hostile, man, my people been persecuted!

Re: Appreciating Metal Vocals
March 01, 2010, 11:06:06 AM
I think the problem here is that you're failing to appreciate music for its objective qualities and instead focus on what sounds "cool", "otherworldly" or "interesting". It's the riffs that are important and how they work together, everything else is a distraction like how deep X's growls are or how Y runs over the toms into the blast beat.

If I might suggest, I would actually say the problem here is that you're failing to appreciate music as a tool of emotional evocation that operates on a metaphysical level, and instead focus on mathematical efficiency. Valuing noesis over aisthesis leads to modernism, and modernism to post-modernism, and post-modernism to death.

I would agree that a focus on musical structure is sorely missing in contemporary music, but to reject aesthetic components altogether is overreacting, I think. After all, what is the point in melodic structure? It's to evoke sublime emotions through reflecting reality, is it not? Aesthetics do the same thing, just in a more Dionysiac, metaphysical, and personal way. Just like it is in people, a sense of moderation is necessary for a piece to be balanced; sacrificing structure or aesthetics for the other leaves a hole, a part of the song that has the capacity to achieve a musical purpose, but does not. If distorted vocals contribute positively to the aesthetics, as they do for many of us, then there's no reason to get rid of them.

That is not to say that the vocals are perfect right now. I would love to see more dynamic distorted vocals myself. The throat singing video NHA posted was a good reference, I think; ancient and emotive, with a wide range of techniques that provide a palette to compliment the movements in the song structure.

Re: Appreciating Metal Vocals
March 02, 2010, 07:13:06 AM
I agree that more instrumental metal should be a future goal, but scrapping the vocals entirely would remove man from the music. Sometimes this works wonderfully -- "Tomhet," "Naar Himmelen Klarnar," "Norvegr," and even stuff like Windir's "Soknardalr" conveys something that would be utterly lost with the addition of vocals, something sacred and beyond the reach of mortals. On the other hand, when it comes to constructing atmosphere, especially if we consider the possibility that metal taps into an aspect of European life that was lost with the rise of things like Romanization, "domestication," and Christianization, harsh vocals are key to conveying its war-like spirit. Transilvanian Hunger and Ildjarn albums like Forest Poetry and Nocturnal Visions perfectly represent how this is true. The vocals on these albums are not tough guy babblings, nor are they flat growls for the sake of "being metal." Instead, they are cries of urgency, calls to arms.

So maybe we need more Ildjarns -- capable of both a Forest Poetry and a Hardangervidda without missing a beat. Throw in the complexity of The Red in the Sky is Ours for both of these facets of the metal spirit and you've really got something.

On a side note, if you haven't already, have a listen to some instrumentals from De Mysteriis dom Sathanas:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xxND8gMn5Co
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Eo7qq3k5PhE

Megaupload link (from Audiofile): http://www.megaupload.com/?d=OTB6HJAC

Edited to add: I do wonder what others think about this release in particular. Attila's vocals tend to divide people, so hearing the album without any vocals at all is something that could placate potential appreciators. I can't say I'm a big Attila fan, anyway. He's like the Mike Patton of underground metal -- more about gimmicky vocal chord distortions than creating emotion with his voice. Still, he has his moments on the Mayhem album. Hearing the title track without his vocals, though, especially when the treble elevates after the four minute mark, makes me notice things that I couldn't previously due to how distracting his wailing was.

Re: Appreciating Metal Vocals
March 02, 2010, 10:50:42 PM
I don't understand how someone can listen to albums like Arise!, Profanatitas De Domonatia, Nespithe, The Key of Throne, Farmakon, or Beyond the Veil and think metal would be better off as instrumental music.
Because growling is noise, not music. Sure, it contributes to the atmosphere in a way, but most of the bands could achieve that atmosphere without the screaming, by music solely. And the ones that couldn't, don't deserve to exist anyway. Vocals, just as drums (which, also non-musical, create the rhythmic core of the composition, instead of leaving that to the actual music), should be abandoned, if metal is to reach new heights. "Harsh music" should not imply "noise".

Just guitars then, that's all metal should be. Actually we don't need it to be electric if we want to make the most out of dynamics to really get a good atmosphere. Infact how about we replace the guitar with a violin, the bass with a cello, the synth with a piano and while we're at it chuck in some woodwind, brass, percussion (not a drum kit obviously... horrible thing) and some more strings. But how to organize this mess! What about a guy who stands at the front waving a baton around to signal when to come in and how to react?

Drums and vocals are probably the two most definite signatures of extreme metal, take them away and it's no longer metal.

Re: Appreciating Metal Vocals
March 02, 2010, 11:29:22 PM
Or, how about ditching instruments altogether and singing all parts: chugga-chugga, wah-wah-wah-waaaah, ta-ta-ta-ta-ta, bo-bom-bom...   :-P

Re: Appreciating Metal Vocals
March 03, 2010, 02:52:15 AM
PAGAAAN FFFEEEEEUUUHHHHRS.

I like Attila's vocals.

Re: Appreciating Metal Vocals
March 03, 2010, 05:35:42 PM
Or, how about ditching instruments altogether and singing all parts: chugga-chugga, wah-wah-wah-waaaah, ta-ta-ta-ta-ta, bo-bom-bom...   :-P

That's already been done. It's called a cappella. Its pretty terrible from what I've heard of it.
No.

Having reviewed the thread, baby Jesus is most definitely weeping at this point.

Re: Appreciating Metal Vocals
March 03, 2010, 09:30:36 PM
Yes it is.
A hands on recent gimmicky example:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vyHcIHssdHA

There's more from where this crap came from (if you don't value your time).